Omaha native Steven “So Cold” Nelson found a home on Terence “Bud” Crawford’s undercards.
On Saturday, while fighting in his hometown, he moved a step closer to earning co-main event status.
Nelson (12-0) floored Mexican light heavyweight Oscar Riojas twice in the fourth round to earn his 10th knockout victory as a pro. The end of the fight came at 2:50 of the fourth with the Omahan turning it on.
“I had to stop fooling around and get him out of there,” Nelson said.
The unbeaten prospect, who fights for Top Rank, loves fooling around before his bouts. Nelson designs his own costumes and has entered the ring as Blade the vampire hunter and Hannibal Lecter in the past.
On Saturday, he came in as “Halloween’s” Michael Myers, then proceeded to carve up Riojas in their fight.
“I felt good showing up for the hometown fans,” he said.
Nelson continued his march toward a regional title shot with the victory. Two other undefeated fighters on the undercard earned the first title belts of their careers with impressive victories on Saturday night.
With former teammate and two-time gold medalist Claressa Shields cheering her on from ringside, U.S. Olympian Mikaela Mayer captured the vacant NABF junior lightweight title by pummeling Vanessa Bradford for eight rounds. Mayer dropped Bradford in the seventh round of her eighth win as a pro.
“I felt great going eight rounds for the first time,” Mayer said. “I felt like I could go 15 in there tonight.”
Junior middleweight Carlos Adames blew out Josh Conley in the second round of their fight to claim the NABF’s 154-pound belt. That bout lasted only a few moments longer than former world champion Mike Alvarado’s two-round destruction of Robbie Cannon, which came viciously at 41 seconds of the second.
“It was great to be on this stage again,” Alvarado said. “I felt really comfortable in there with my reconstructed team. I did it again. I’m back. I’m ready for the top level again. It took me some time to get here, but I’m back.”
Ismail Muwendo, a Uganda-born lightweight who fights out of Minnesota for B&B Boxing, bounced back from his first career loss with a win over Andre Wilson in a six-round bout. Muwendo, dropped twice in his last bout, ate a straight left hand that buckled him in the third round before taking control of the fight.
In the opening bouts, unbeaten prospects Keeshawn Williams and Jose Valenzuela scored decisive decision victories. Valenzuela, trained by Jose Benavidez Sr., dropped Hugo Rodriguez three times.
Saturday’s Undercard Results
Welterweight: Mike Alvarado (40-4) KO-2 Robbie Cannon (16-14-3) :41. Super welterweight: Carlos Adames (15-0) TKO-2 Josh Conley (14-3-1) 2:17. Light heavyweight: Steven Nelson (12-0) TKO-4 Oscar Riojas (17-11-1) 2:50. Junior lightweight: Mikaela Mayer (8-0) dec. Vanessa Bradford (4-1-2) 80-71, 80-71, 80-71. Lightweight: Ismail Muwendo (20-1) dec. Andre Wilson (15-12) 59-55, 59-55, 59-55. Super featherweight: Jose Valenzuela (2-0) dec. Hugo Rodriguez (1-1) 40-33, 40-33, 40-35. Welterweight: Keeshawn Williams (4-0-1) dec. Ramel Snegur (2-3-1) 40-36, 40-36, 39-37.